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Monday, February 10, 2014

BAM Theater Gala: King Lear

(Photo: Elena Olivo)

Last Thursday night, BAM celebrated the month-long run of King Lear and the 2014 Winter/Spring season with a feast fit for a king—even a mad one.

The occasion: BAM’s annual Theater Gala. The location: the ornate Skylight One Hanson building, next door to BAM. Over 400 guests, including Hugh Jackman, Marisa Tomei, and Jonathan Safran Foer, among others, were welcomed into a lush landscape of green and gold, a world removed from the snow-filled one outside. D├ęcor designer Fleurs Bella seamlessly intertwined lavish table settings with regal finishes, taking inspiration from the themes of political and natural power in the show.

Read on for more on the gala.
Guests enjoying a meal inspired by classic British fare (Photo: Elena Olivo)
Guests were served a hearty three-course meal catered by Great Performances: a winter duo of watercress and parsnip salad with celery root soup, followed by a twist on steak and potatoes: a filet in red beet reduction served with potato gratin. The dinner concluded with an assortment of petit fours and coffee in custom cups—perfect for the quick walk from Skylight to the BAM Harvey Theater.

The production marked the return of the Olivier Award-winning Chichester Festival Theater to BAM, and welcomed the theater and film veteran Frank Langella to the BAM stage for the first time. Shakespeare's epic tragedy follows King Lear's descent into madness after being betrayed by two of his daughters. The play features one of the most iconic storms in theatrical history, and director Angus Jackson's interpretation pits the force of an onstage downpour with Langella's emotional and powerful portrayal of Lear's impending insanity.

BAM Trustee and King Lear Gala Chair Gary Lynch welcomes guests and thanks them for their support of BAM.
(Photo: Elena Olivo)
After the show, the crowd stayed for a cocktail and dessert reception. The ample spread doffed a cap to both traditional British desserts and the themes of the show: warm toffee cake, raspberry truffles, hot toddies, and dark-and-stormies to drink. As the gala-goers left, they received a special gift bag full of books from the Perseus Books Group, journals from Paperblanks, coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company, soap from Roundabout Botanicals, shampoo from Malin+Goetz, and a custom tea from Brooklyn Tea Company.

The gala was hugely successful and wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of many people and organizations. BAM thanks Gala Chair Gary Lynch, Bank of America, Fleurs Bella, Great Performances, Elena Olivo, Beowulf Sheehan, Brooklyn Roasting Company, Brooklyn Tea Company, Malin+Goetz, Paperblanks, The Perseus Books Group, POP NYC, and Roundabout Botanicals for their support.

Here are a few more pictures from the night. (And take a look at the full gallery of pictures here and here.)

Guests received plenty of writerly gifts in a custom King Lear tote created by POP NYC (Photo: Elena Olivo)
BAM Executive Producer Joe Melillo and BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins with Gala Chair Gary Lynch
(Photo: Elena Olivo)
Actor Hugh Jackman at the post-show dessert reception for King Lear
(Photo: Beowulf Sheehan)
Actress Marisa Tomei joined guests for dessert following King Lear (Photo: Beowulf Sheehan)
Authors Nicole Krauss and Jonathan Safran Foer
(Photo: Elena Olivo)
BAM Trustees Gary Lynch and Pat Schoenfeld with Hugh Jackman at the King Lear dessert reception
(Photo: Elena Olivo)

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